Fujiwara no Yasunori (藤原保則)

FUJIWARA no Yasunori (825-May 23, 895) was an aristocrat of the early Heian period. He was born to the Southern House of the Fujiwara clan and was the child of FUJIWARA no Sadao. His mother was the daughter of ABE no Ototomi. He achieved high status as a local official that governed well, and was known as a good official, and praised as the Ryo Nisenseki (competent local official). FUJIWARA no Kiyotsura, who possessed the title of Gon Dainagon (Provisional Major Counselor) and died from a lightening incident at Seiryoden (Emperor's private residence) in 930, was his legal son. He also had another child, FUJIWARA no Mao, who held the title of Benkan (Oversight Department, Division of the Daijokan responsible for controlling central and provincial government offices).

He was assigned to be the Jibusho shojo (Junior Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Administration) in 855. He successively held various posts of Minbusho shojo (Junior Secretary of the Ministry of Popular Affairs), Hyobusho shojo (Junior Secretary of the Ministry of War), Shikibusho shojo (Junior Secretary of the Ministry of Ceremonial). Yasunori, who held the title of Taijo (Senior Secretary) with the rank of Shorokuinojo (Senior Sixth Rank, Upper Grade), became Jo (office manager) in 860.

Yasunori was promoted to the rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and was assigned to be the Kokushi (Provincial Governor) of Bitchu no kuni (Bitchu Province) in 866. Yasunori, who was reassigned to Bitchu Province, which was severely damaged from famine and misgovernment, saved the poor and rebuilt the government with through adroit administration that greatly encouraged farming. He successively held various posts of Bitchu no kami (Governor of Bitchu Province) and Bizen no kuni Gon no kami (Provisional Governor of Bizen Province) and was greatly admired for his achievements. There is a story told, when Yasunori was at Bitchu Province, a gang of robbers who came from a different province heard about Yasunori's administration, and were so ashamed that they turned themselves in. When Yasunori finished his term and was about to return to Kyoto, people walked across the street, cried and mourned his passing.

Yasunori returned to Kyoto in 876 and became Uemon Gon no suke (Provisional Assistant Captain of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards) and Kebiishi (Office of Police and Judicial Chief) where he used his great skills to ensure the safety of the capital, and became Minbu Taifu (Senior Assistant Minister of Popular Affairs) and progressed to the rank of Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade). He was assigned to be Benkan in around 877.

He was promoted to the rank of Jugoinojo and became the Dewa no kuni Gon no kami (Provisional Governor of Dewa Province) in 878. At that time, Ifu (old slang for Ainu, the indigenous people in Japan) was revolting in Dewa no kuni and the imperial army was greatly defeated. Yasunori was assigned to Zuryo (provincial officials) of Dewa no kuni with high expectation of his skill as a local officer. Yasunori, who was assigned to Dewa no kuni, distributed the army, while lecturing on military placement as he restored the damaged government, and handed out stored rice to people in an attempt to conciliate with Ifu. The rebelling Ifu heard of the wise government under Yasunori and consecutively demanded their surrender which Yasunori accepted. Yasunori commented that the better method was to quell the Ifu by leniency rather than suppression, like which was carried out under the imperial government, and the imperial government accepted that the revolution ended without the use of military force (Gangyo War).

Yasunori, who was the Sanuki no kuni Gon no kami (Provisional Governor of Sanuki Province) was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) in 882. In 887, he was assigned to be the Iyo no kuni no kami (Governor of Iyo Province) but declined the position and was assigned to be the Dazai no daini (Senior Assistant Governor-General of the Dazai-fu Offices) and gained the rank of Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade). Emperor Uda highly valued the skill of Yasunori and assigned him to be the Sadaiben (Major Controller of the Left) in 891, Sangi (Royal Advisor), Omi no kuni Gon no kami (Provisional Governor of Omi Province), and Minbukyo (Minister of Popular Affairs). He passed away in 895. He entered Mount Hiei just before he death and supposedly died while chanting Nenbutsu (Buddhist invocation).

Kiyoyuki (Kiyotsura) MIYOSHI wrote "FUJIWARA no Yasunori den" (Bibliography of FUJIWARA no Yasunori) in honor of his high achievements.

[Original Japanese]